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Screenshot via Apple.com

Apple announced a new program Wednesday under which it will take a smaller 15% cut from App Store sales for businesses earning less than $1 million selling their apps, rather than the standard 30% cut.

Why it matters: Apple is under fire from some critics over its rigid App Store policies that require developers to use Apple payment systems for both app sales and in-app payments in exchange for a cut of sales.

How it works:

  • Under the new App Store Small Business Program, launching Jan. 1, developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, qualify for the reduced rate.
  • Once a participating developer surpasses the $1 million in App Store revenue, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year. 
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15% commission for the following year.

Between the lines: The move comes amid growing criticism from some developer corners as well as heightened interest from antitrust regulators.

  • Fortnite creator Epic is suing Apple (and Google) over their store policies, which have also been criticized by Spotify, Match Group and others.

Our thought bubble: The move should help generate some positive press for Apple and please smaller app makers. But it doesn't really address the concern of developers, such as Epic Games, who want a way to reach iPhone owners without taking part in Apple's payment system.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

MacKenzie Scott donates another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations

MacKenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including community-based nonprofits and organizations focused on racial justice.

Why it matters: It's the next phase of what the New York Times describes as a "highly unconventional approach" to philanthropy from one of the richest women in the world.

Heat wave enveloping West will shatter records, spark wildfires

The sun sets behind power lines in Rosemead, California on June 14, 2021, amid an early season heatwave across much of California this week. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A dangerous and widespread mid-June heat wave is bringing blowtorch-like heat, skyrocketing power demand, and “critical” wildfire danger to much of the West Tuesday through this weekend.

Why it matters: The heat is building in a region that is experiencing a record drought, leading to dangerous fire weather conditions, straining electrical grids, and causing water supplies to dwindle further. The heat itself may prove deadly.